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Shabbat Rosh Hashana

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder" - proverb.


The Shofar is the central mitzvah of Rosh HaShana, and the central element of our experience of the days. The loud noise dominates the time in Shule, and the proclamations from the announcer lead to an almost deafening silence, all the better to hear.

However, we do no blow the Shofar all the time on Rosh HaShana. We do not blow when Rosh HaShana falls on Shabbat. The Talmud gives two reasons for this practice. One is that we are concerned that people will carry the Shofar outside of an Eiruv which would be forbidden when Rosh HaShana falls on Shabbat, as it does this year. The other is less technical.

The Torah refers to Rosh HaShana in one place as "a Day of Blowing" and in another as "a Day of Remembering the Blowing." The Talmud explains that we use two different expressions because one refers to when the Rosh HaShana falls on Shabbat and the SHofar is no blown. The other refers to when Rosh HaShana falls during the week, and the Shofar sounds as usual.

My Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Amital zt"l, asked why the Torah would specify that we do not blow on Shabbat. He answered that it is because sometimes we only value something when we don't have it, when it becomes absent from our lives. It is only by not getting something that we are used to that we can truly be aware of its importance.

Of course, we would never choose a Rosh HaShana such as this one, without Shule and our beloved community. However, let's use it to remember our connection to each other. Let's remember our love for one another, and so come our of the year 5780 stronger than we came into it, despite the difficulties. 

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